The Full Story
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme hit the road on Thursday (August 5), with the Ministry of Health and Wellness staging its first mobile vaccination drive at the Sovereign Centre in St. Andrew.
The event, which got under way at 10:00 a.m., facilitated the inoculation of members of the public aged 18 and older, with the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Medical Officer of Health, Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department, Dr. Debbie Carrington, told JIS News that the Ministry had set a target of inoculating 500 persons during the session, which ended at 4:00 pm.
She said that the mobile drive is different from the vaccination blitzes, as it is designed to reach people where they live, work, and carry out regular activities.
“This is more focused. We are hoping to get the community members, the persons living, working, shopping nearby to come and get their vaccines,” she said.
Dr. Carrington told JIS News that the exercise is intended to facilitate easier access by members of the public, thereby encouraging increased take-up of the vaccine.
“We register on-site, so it is not that you have to make an appointment; you can just come,” she pointed out.
Among those taking advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated was bank employee Vanessa Williams.
She told JIS News that she was motivated to take the vaccine to protect loved ones, as her job involves engaging with members of the public.
“I feel that I am very exposed, and I have a child, I have my family and I don’t want to be the person that carries it home. Because I am open to the public I see a lot of persons – foreigners and nationals – that is the reason why I came out today,” she said, noting that she would be receiving the first dose.
Senior citizen, Erna Hamilton, who resides at Parks Road in Stony Hill, told JIS News that she decided to take advantage of the convenient location to receive the vaccine and encouraged others to also take the shot. “It is the right thing to do,” she said.
To benefit, members of the public are required to present a tax registration number (TRN) and government-issued identification or a letter from a Justice of the Peace (JP).
Persons who received the first dose of the vaccine at today’s mobile drive are expected to receive the second dose on September 30.
Those who are fully inoculated are to retain their stamped vaccine cards verifying their status.
The initiative is part of the Ministry’s national vaccination programme. It was facilitated by the Ministry in collaboration with a team of healthcare workers from the Southeast Regional Health Authority (SERHA).
The team is comprised of public health nurses, medical officers of health and emergency medical technicians.